Hints at an $800 Apple laptop, Bloggers Report, Stock up 4 points

It was quite interesting to watch the market swing yesterday. Apple (AAPL) took a 20% hit on the market last week when it was expected that consumer spending on “bling” would be reduced. “Bling” stocks like Apple, Starbucks (SBUX) and other companies representing consumers “living the life” mentalities tanked with futures projections.

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And then yesterday came. Duncan Riley had an exclusive reporting the imminent release of an $800 laptop from Apple, the first sub-$1000 machine ever in the line of Apple products. From there, well read blogs like VentureBeat, MacRumors and Gizmodo – to name just a few – ran with the story.

Later in the day, Engadget reported an October 14th event where Apple would announce their new laptop line. Former Engadget editor, Ryan Block, 9 to 5 Mac and Digital Daily – again, to only name a few – ran with the story.

The result was fascinating. The DJIA is currently down over 300 points indicating yet another bloodbath on Wall Street. However, Apple stock is through the roof, up almost 5 points at this moment.

I am in no way suggesting people should go about trying to manipulate the market by creating stories or otherwise fabricating false positive pressure on the market. That is a crime. However, it’s important for blogger to recognize their ability to affect the market for the positive or negative.

And the pressure remains on the top-tier bloggers to use that power wisely and recognize that their words matter. If ever there was a “responsibility” at the feet of these bloggers, it is now.

Thoughts on MobileMe and Apple

As I’ve spent the past 24 hours wiping my Macbook Pro and trying to get back up to speed, I thought I’d give a few thoughts on MobileMe, Apple Mail and Push/Cloud technology.

This is relatively raw as I am much more focused on getting back to work than I am “getting things right” as they say in the journalism business. I’m a user. I’m a tech guy. I’m a Unix guy. I’m an Apple guy. Those are the lenses I see this world through.

MobileMe Saved My Preference Life

MobileMe saved my life in terms of preferences, contacts and calendar. It was absolutely beautiful to watch everything sync beautifully back into place on a fresh install of Leopard.

Apple Mail no Longer Handles TLS/SSL Authentication

Apple Mail no longer wishes to communicate with my mail server running Zimbra. Mind you, the exact same setting exist between a parallel install of Thunderbird, but Apple Mail will not authenticate against a TLS based server. It was mildly flakey before, but it worked. Now it simply will not work no matter what combination of settings I try.

Standardize around Protocols, not Products

If I have to use Thunderbird, it would be nice if I could connect to MobileMe to sync my address book. Others, apparently, feel the same way. Why is MobileMe contacts and calendars not running on a WebDAV server that any client can develop communication prototypes against? If I have to use Thunderbird as opposed to Apple Mail, I lose the selling point of MobileMe.

Likewise, Apple is building for the software on the Windows side with people complaining that you can only use MobileMe with Outlook. What about Outlook Express, Thunderbird, etc?

What about Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail?

Bad software development always starts with developing against the symptom instead of the root problem. A better concept for MobileMe would be to develop around standard protocols: POP/IMAP/Exchange for Mail, CalDAV for iCal, WebDAV/LDAP for contacts.

Just some thoughts for the Apple Team. There’s probably more I can’t address at this time. What advice would you give the Apple product teams around their products, particularly their productivity products?

Bonus: Why is the Mozilla team not supporting native Mac datastores (Address Book) on their Mac products”?

Don't Buy the Coming Hype – Apple Botched the iPhone Launch, Not the Carriers

Possibly the worst public relations nightmare in internet history occurred yesterday. Hardcore fans wanting to buy the new iPhone 3G camped out over night, and in some cases for days, to be the first to get their hands on the new, sexy, shiny device from their perfect company, Apple.

What they got was unexpected. They got iFail, as it’s been called some places or iPocalypse as it’s been called other places. One person I talked to who worked in an Apple Store in Pennsylvania said that maybe 1 out of every six iPhones successfully were activated yesterday. In some cases, the ability to communicate with AT&T caused an incomplete software load, turning the phone into a cold, dead device.

MG Siegeler at Venture Beat hints at a conspiracy theory, whereby Apple can pin the problem on AT&T and opt-out of a contract.

The conspiracy has merit. Apple has not been happy with AT&T since the June 26 launch of iPhone 1.0 last year. At some point, Apple started realizing that an exclusive contract with AT&T was a failure, especially for those people in Canada who couldn’t get AT&T. Thus the unlocked iPhone trend began under Apple sanctioning. People could buy, for a much higher price, an iPhone that was not locked into the AT&T network and activate it with any compatible carrier. There’s merit to the conspiracy because Apple marketing is a precision machine that knows exactly how to communicate a message without sweating it. They could easily create a conspiracy and wash their hands clean of it at the same time. It doesn’t help that they are tight-lipped about everything. Everything!

You know what they say – if it looks like you’re hiding something, you probably are.

But now, let me throw some cold water on this conspiracy theory. You can’t blame AT&T when every other authorized carrier encountered the same problem. Rogers, in Canada, experienced a botched launch in their debut as an authorized iPhone Carrier. O2, the authorized carrier in the UK, had problems.

Don’t buy into the hype, I’d say. This seems to be Apple’s problem.

And frankly, this is why I will never stand in line to wait for any product from Apple. It’s not that I don’t love Apple. I do. I have an iPod and a Macbook Pro. My router is not a Linksys, it’s an Airport Extreme. My wife owns a Macbook. Trust me, we’re Apple nuts around here. But somedays, I think I’m the only one with any intelligence. Why would you buy a product from this company on the first day? Never do that. Never, ever.

At least now I feel vindicated in saying that. No one needs an iPhone that bad to have to get it on the first day. No one. It will be there next week after the kinks are worked out.